’Nor certainly was there less faith in the husband who did not oppose such and so great a wife, but rather favoured her, and tempered her fervour with over-kind prudence. Affected, therefore, by the sweetness of this modest love, and mutual society, they could not bear to be separated for any length of time or distance. The lady, therefore, frequently followed her husband through rough roads, and no small distances, and severe wind and weather, led rather by emotions of sincerity than of carnality: for the chaste presence of a modest husband offered no obstacle to that devout spouse in the way of praying, watching, or otherwise doing good.’
Then follows the story of her nurse waking Lewis instead of her, and Lewis’s easy good-nature about this, as about every other event of life. ’And so, after these unwearied watchings, it often happened that, praying for an excessive length of time, she fell asleep on a mat beside her husband’s bed, and being reproved for it by her maidens, answered: “Though I cannot always pray, yet I can do violence to my own flesh by tearing myself in the meantime from my couch."’
’Fugiebat oblectamenta carnalia, et ideo stratum molliorem, et viri contubernium secretissimum, quantum licuit, declinavit. Quem quamvis praecordialis amoris affectu deligeret, querulabatur tamen dolens, quod virginalis decorem floris non meruit conservare. Castigabat etiam plagis multis, et lacerabat diris verberibus carnem puella innocens et pudica.
’In principio quidem diebus quadragesimae, sextisque feriis aliis occultas solebat accipere disciplinas, laetam coram hominibus se ostentrans. Post vero convalescens et proficiens in gratia, deserto dilecti thoro surgens, fecit se in secreto cubiculo per ancillarum manus graviter saepissime verberari, ad lectumque mariti reversa hilarem se exhibuit et jocundam.
’Vere felices conjuges, in quorum consortio tanta munditia, in colloquio pudicitia reperta est. In quibus amor Christi concupiscentiam extinxit, devotio refrenavit petulantiam, fervor spiritus excussit somnolentiam, oratio tutavit conscientiam, charitas benefaciendi facultatem tribuit et laetitiam!’
P. 58. ‘In every scruple.’ Cf. Lib. III. section 9, how Lewis ’consented that Elizabeth his wife should make a vow of obedience and continence at the will of the said Conrad, salva jure matrimonii.’
P. 59. ‘The open street.’ Cf. Lib. II. section 11. ’On the Rogation days, when certain persons doing contrary to the decrees of the saints are decorated with precious and luxurious garments, the Princess, dressed in serge and barefooted, used to follow most devoutly the Procession of the Cross and the relics of the Saints, and place herself always at sermon among the poorest women; knowing (says Dietrich) that seeds cast into the valleys spring up into the richest crop of corn.’
P. 60. ‘The poor of Christ.’ Cf. Lib. II. sections 6, 11, et passim. Elizabeth’s labours among the poor are too well known throughout one half at least of Christendom, where she is, par excellence, the patron of the poor, to need quotations.